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Apr 4, 2024 6:27 am

Twins set for home opener vs. hard-hitting Guardians

Jose Ramirez, guardians

The Cleveland Guardians haven’t been shy about flexing their muscles during the first two legs of their season-opening, 10-game road trip.

After erupting for 46 runs during their first seven contests of the season, the Guardians will look to spoil the party Thursday, when they will be the opposition in the Minnesota Twins’ home opener in Minneapolis.

If the Twins wish to be successful, they would be wise to tread lightly around Jose Ramirez. Playing in his 1,300th career game Wednesday afternoon, Ramirez ripped a pair of RBI doubles as part of Cleveland’s 8-0 rout of the Seattle Mariners.

Steven Kwan recorded his fourth multi-hit performance in seven games this season, collecting three hits and three runs, and Andres Gimenez and Ramirez added two in each category for the Guardians.

“Just can’t say enough about what this offense is doing top to bottom,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said. “We were fortunate to jump on (the Mariners), and our guys have been having great at-bats all spring and all season so far. Just want to keep it rolling.”

Guardians rookie shortstop Brayan Rocchio had a single to extend his on-base streak to six games and hitting streak to four games. Rocchio was quick to note that the club’s aggressiveness on the basepaths is imperative.

“That’s the key to win games,” he said. “That’s the (most important) part of this team.”

Twins right-hander Pablo Lopez (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will be tasked with slowing the Guardians.

Lopez, 28, overcame a game-opening homer to allow just three more hits over seven innings of a 4-1 victory against the Kansas City Royals in the March 28 season opener. The All-Star struck out seven without walking a batter.

“I had a great support system in (catcher Ryan) Jeffers,” Lopez said of how he settled down after Maikel Garcia’s long ball, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “(Jeffers) gives you the mental cues or gestures to keep you in the moment and keep you pumped up.”

Jeffers pumped up the Twins in a different manner on Wednesday, recording four RBIs in a 7-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning and added an RBI single in the ninth to help Minnesota salvage a split of the two-game series.

“It’s a big win for us,” Jeffers said. “I know it’s Game 5, but I feel like we needed that win going home, not to lose three straight, (to) split the series here and kind of get the offense clicking.”

Lopez owns a 2-1 record with a 3.38 ERA in four career starts against the Guardians.

Cleveland right-hander Tanner Bibee (0-0, 6.75 ERA) will provide the opposition on Thursday.

Bibee, 25, had a no-decision against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday after matching his career high with five walks. He also allowed three runs on six hits in four innings.

Bibee has received three no-decisions and compiled a 4.20 ERA in three career starts vs. Minnesota. All three outings occurred last year.

–Field Level Media

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